Yes, college can happen after foot drop

Emergency surgery for foot drop had me hobbling around in spring 2013. I was finally cleared to drive in May, but only after months of physical therapy and doctor visits. It's been a long haul. Flash forward to 2014, college classes and foot drop. Younger students seem to skip around campus with backpacks are defiantly slung over one shoulder. It's a fast-paced frenzy to the education finish line that they intend to win.

I, in contrast, am a turtle racing with the rabbits. Despite a nearby handicapped space, getting to the building takes a few minutes. Foot drop has seen to it that backpacks have no place in my life anymore.


My financial aid appeal was denied

Several of you have asked for an update about my financial aid status at Pellissippi State. I thought it would be easiest to post here. My return to Pellissippi State Community College came after a break of two decades. My daughters were toddlers during my first attempt. The younger of the two had a bout with meningitis and then had major surgery for a stomach issue. She is 24 now and doing great. However, her health challenges caused me to drop school back then to take care of her.

Flash forward to Fall 2014, everyone else in the household has an education except me. I returned to Pellissippi State and re-enrolled as a student for fall 2014. My college experience there had been excellent. My credits are there and the school still had a good reputation. It made sense to return to Pellissippi.

My hunch would be that since my income has changed over the years, that my financial aid eligibility would too. My tuition was covered from another source. It's books that were going to be a problem.The financial aid rep that I spoke with assured me that I could take out a student loan for the fall. Based on information from the financial aid representative, I registered for a full-time course load.

Then, the bombshell hit and my financial aid denied. The reason given is unsatisfactory academic progress. The Pellissippi State Community College policy is that students must pass a certain percentage of the classes attempted in order to receive financial aid.

I get that but I also get that it's 22 years later and my situation has changed dramatically. I was told that supporting documentation could be provided and the decision could be appealed. Word arrived today that the appeal was rejected.

My GPA isn't bad. I am listed as being in good academic standing for Summer 1992 (the last semester that I attended before this fall).

You can see that the problem isn't my grades. It's that I attempted college when my daughter was sick and had to withdraw to take care of her. No classes were attempted between then and now at Pellissippi State Community College or elsewhere. I'm not sure how or why the school revoked my academic good standing since my last semester in attendance.

All I know is that it was revoked, the appeal was denied despite supporting documentation and that I'm not sure how to finish paying for my books (which are on a credit card right now).

It is disappointing that Pellissippi State Community College didn't tell me this when I originally spoke with them at financial aid. Had they done so, I wouldn't have registered for a full-time load of classes.

In my opinion, this situation stinks.  I am looking at several different ideas to help me pay off the books. Next semester isn't an issue because of a possible reimbursement at work. However, I will need to put the books on the credit card until the reimbursement can be processed in the spring. So, it's a rock-and-a-hard-place situation.

I will keep everyone posted through the blog on how you can help. Thanks for being encouraging! You guys are awesome. :-)


Setting Google alerts can help parents

I want to thank Bill Latchford at Protect Children Online (.org) for tweeting a safety tip that parents will appreciate. He suggests that setting a Google alert can help parents monitor kid's behavior. After you set the alert, a message and link is be sent to your inbox every time Google picks up the name.

This was something that I did with my kids years ago. I deleted the link after they became adults. The alerts that I received were usually when their name was in the paper or when the high school posted a newsletter online. Occasionally, Google alerts would come in for people who had the same (or very similar) names to my children.

I didn't think of the alerts as being a safety measure. For me, it was a way of helping the kids find things for their scrapbook. As Bill points out, Google alerts can serve another purpose. By letting parents know when their child's name is used, parents are able to better monitor their kids behavior.

Setting an alert is as easy as going to www.google.com/alerts and following the directions. It only takes a few minutes. If it helps protect children, then it's a few minutes well spent.